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Sacrilegious Saturday

November 7, 2009

Sacridelicious Moments: November 7th
1492 – The Ensisheim Meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, strikes the earth around noon in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, Alsace, France.
1917 – Russian Revolution: In Petrograd, Russia, Bolshevik leaders Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky lead revolutionaries in overthrowing the Provisional Government
1973 – The U.S. Congress overrides President Richard M. Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Resolution, which limits presidential power to wage war without congressional approval.
2000 – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discovers one of the country’s largest LSD labs inside a converted military missile silo in Wamego, Kansas.
2002 – Iran bans advertising of United States products.
2004 – The interim government of Iraq calls for a 60-day “state of emergency” as U.S. forces storm the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

They Died on This Day

1225 – Engelbert II of Berg, Archbishop of Cologne
1550 – Jon Arason, the last Roman Catholic bishop of Iceland
1991 – Tom of Finland, Finnish fetish artist

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Stemella permalink*
    November 7, 2009 8:33 am

    November 7th is also the feast day of Saint Herculanus (Sant’ Ercolano) of Perugia (d. 549), who was a bishop of Perugia and is patron saint of that city.

    According to Saint Gregory the Great in his Dialogues[1], Herculanus suffered martyrdom when Totila, king of the Ostrogoths, captured Perugia in 549.

    Before the city was captured, Herculanus is said to have tried to save the city with an old ruse: he fed the last sack of grain to the last lamb. This was meant to give the Ostrogoth forces the impression that the Perugians had food to spare, and were able to feed a weak lamb with their precious grain. With food to spare, they were thus able to withstand the siege. However, Totila was not fooled by this trick and captured the city just the same.[2]
    This same trick has also been attributed to Gagliaudo, who saved his city (Alessandria) -successfully- from the forces of Frederick Barbarossa. An interpretation of the tale is found in Umberto Eco’s novel Baudolino.
    Totila is said to have commanded Herculanus to be completely flayed. However, the Ostrogoth soldier asked to perform this gruesome task took pity on the bishop and decapitated Herculanus before the flaying had been completed.

    Gregory writes that forty days after Herculanus’ head had been cut off, it was found to have been reunited to the body.[3]

    The inhabitants of the castle of Cisterna, above the Puglia river, were under Perugian rule; they had to send three pounds of wax to Perugia for the feast of St. Herculanus.[4]

  2. Stemella permalink*
    November 7, 2009 8:47 am

    Yesterday there were 5 more failed banks:

    FDIC and ZH
    116. United Security Bank, Sparta, GA; Assets: $157 million. Loss to FDIC: $58 million (est.)

    117. Home Federal Savings Bank, Detroit, Michigan; Assets: $14.9 million. Loss to FDIC: $5.4 million (est.)

    118. Prosperan Bank, Oakdale, MN; Assets: $199.5 million. Loss to FDIC: $60.1 million (est.)

    119. Gateway Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; Assets: $27.7 million. Loss to FDIC: $9.2 million (est.)

    120. United Commercial Bank, San Francisco, CA; Assets: $11.2 billion. Loss to FDIC $1.4 billion (est.)

  3. cometman permalink*
    November 7, 2009 3:40 pm

    Haha! Nice post! Loved the Lil’ Dead Pope video and that band was pretty cool. I looked them up and they’re from the Czech Republic. Interesting interview here.

    • Stemella permalink*
      November 7, 2009 5:06 pm

      I found the band as a general dead pope youtube search and they were a happy surprising find. There are several vids of them performing – definitely a garage punk sound.

      I loved the answer here:
      CZB: How has Michael Jackson’s death affected you?
      Samuel Mondial: He died? Oh my God, I have to check the newspapers..


      Also some other good bands to Czech out (hat tip Miss D)

      CZB: I understand Prague has a vivid punk rock scene. What are some Czech bands you would suggest we visit on YouTube to get an idea of music made in CZ and your personal tastes?
      Samuel Mondial: The most popular club band is Sunshine/ indie-electro-punk; they are really good… Pipes and Pints, Genius Mess Poets, Kill The Dandies, Degradace, The Neoromantix, Kazety… and my favourite Czech band is The Crooked Beats for sure…

  4. cometman permalink*
    November 7, 2009 3:48 pm

    This looks promising. Writer at the Roanoke times website has part 1 of a series on an encounter with charlatan extraordinaire Pat Robertson – The day Pat Robertson’s bodyguard pulled a gun on me (part 1).

  5. cometman permalink*
    November 7, 2009 4:09 pm

    What better day for sacrilegious Saturday than the First Annual Carl Sagan day. Sounds pretty interesting.

    This event is sponsored by the Carl Sagan Day Planning Committee, Broward College, Center for Inquiry, Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists and the James Randi Educational Foundation.

    James Randi is one of the scheduled speakers. I’d love to see him in person sometime. Love the demonstration of “psychic surgery” at the end of this vid:

    • cometman permalink*
      November 7, 2009 4:46 pm

      This site, is streaming the Carl Sagan day program. Lots of interesting stuff there including this post about how may people a couple of lions really ate a century or so ago.

      • Stemella permalink*
        November 7, 2009 5:18 pm

        I’m listening to Randi speak now. Great story teller. For a debunker of pseudoscience, he sure looks the part of the wizard.

        Here’s a vid in honor of Carl Sagan Day

        • cometman permalink*
          November 8, 2009 9:15 am

          They have the entire video of Randi’s talk on Sagan from yesterday posted here for anyone who missed it. Just listened to the whole thing and it was a much better way to spend a Sunday morning than sitting in church. Near the end Randi talks about Sagan being a fairly avid pot smoker. Think I’ll celebrate Carl Sagan day by having a little attitude adjustment and watching some episodes of The Universe I’ve got recorded.

        • cometman permalink*
          November 8, 2009 9:42 am

          Brand new video for Carl Sagan day with only 17 views so far so watch it and give the guy a little love. He does his best Carl Sagan impression and seems like he’s already had his attitude adjustment for the day :)

          • Stemella permalink*
            November 8, 2009 12:53 pm

            Definitely baked. ;) He’s got that twisting the beard professor thing down well, though.

      • Stemella permalink*
        November 7, 2009 5:41 pm

        Good kitties.

        A long time ago, I saw a movie based on that story. It was lame if I remember correctly.

  6. Stemella permalink*
    November 7, 2009 5:39 pm

    I had my own sacrilegious moment this morning when two Fundis came to the door in their neckties. I couldn’t open the door very far since I didn’t want my animals to escape. The dogs did bark menacingly behind me. Good doggies.

    The one closest to the door said, paraphrasing, “With all the terrible things happening in the world, for example the recent events at Fort Hood, I’d like to know what is it that guides you.

    My response was “Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin. His eyes got real big and then I said “there is no god, never was, never will be, have a nice day, Bye!” as I closed the door before I could hear the gasps exhaling.

    smiling sweetly, of course.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 8, 2009 9:29 am

      Ha! That is awesome. I haven’t been so fortunate lately. I see the Mormon or Jehovah witness boys on their bikes with their little thin black ties and white shirts roaming around the neighborhood every so often and I’ve got my Slayer CD with “Angel of Death” all ready to pop into the stereo to greet them, but so far they haven’t knocked on my door and stopped by for a listen.

      • Stemella permalink*
        November 8, 2009 12:56 pm

        Nobody does sacrilege quite as well as Slayer.

        I hope my visitors don’t view me as a soul to be saved and return en masse. I may have to get some Slayer to share, just in case.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    November 9, 2009 7:16 am

    Gold up to $1,108 today, dollar on its way back down and interest rates at bargain basement lows while unemployment inches upward

    IMF Signals Low U.S. Rates Funding ‘Carry Trade’

    “There are indications that the U.S. dollar is now serving as the funding currency for carry trades,” the IMF said in a report published on Nov. 7. “These trades may be contributing to upward pressure on the euro and some emerging-economy currencies.” While the dollar “has moved closer to medium-run equilibrium,” it is still “on the strong side.”

    With investors able to borrow at near-zero rates in the U.S., some economists are concerned that markets may become distorted as traders plow those funds into riskier assets. Nouriel Roubini, the economist who forecast the financial crisis in 2006, said Nov. 4 that investors are milking the “mother of all carry trades.”

    “U.S. interest rates look to remain near zero through the first half of 2010 at the very least, which provides traders plenty of time to continue with carry trades,” said Boris Schlossberg, director of currency research at the online currency trader GFT Forex in New York. “Labor-market conditions are still very challenging in the U.S., and the rest of the world is improving faster. The dollar remains the weakest link.”

    The carry trade explainedhere in a nice British accent with graphics

    • cometman permalink*
      November 9, 2009 10:51 am

      That was a good explanation of carry trades. IIRC, fooling around with currency trades like this is part of what put Iceland into such a huge mess. They were making big money for a while by exploiting the strengths and weaknesses of different currencies until the bottom fell out on Iceland’s currency.

      This to me gets to the root of all that is wrong with the capitalist system. As many economists throughout history have noted, real wealth is created by labor and not by finance. But the global currency system allows finance to play one currency against another (and also one labor market against another) to make enormous profits ultimately at the expense of labor, and this problem is exacerbated even more when governments bail out the finance sector’s failed schemes.

      I’m no fan of globalization as it is now, but the only way to stop this exploitation is to have one global currency. Then of course the oligarchs would figure out some way to exploit that too.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    November 9, 2009 7:17 am

    Japanese fishing trawler sunk by giant jellyfish

    • cometman permalink*
      November 9, 2009 10:53 am

      Ha! Good jellyfish! Climate change does have consequences.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    November 9, 2009 7:20 am

    Who knows whether this will be realized, but here it is:

    President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ordered Venezuela’s military to prepare for a possible armed conflict with Colombia, saying his country’s soldiers should be ready if the United States attempts to provoke a war between the South American neighbors.

    Chavez said Venezuela could end up going to war with Colombia as tensions between them rise, and he warned that if a conflict broke out “it could extend throughout the whole continent.”

    • cometman permalink*
      November 9, 2009 10:37 am

      Sounds like saber rattling to me, probably directed more against the US than against Columbia.

      “The best way to avoid war is preparing for it,” Chavez told military officers during his weekly television and radio program. Venezuela’s socialist leader has also cited a recent deal between Bogota and Washington giving U.S. troops greater access to military bases as a threat to regional stability.

      I don’t much like that rhetoric, but it will be difficult for the US to criticize it with a straight face since that is exactly the excuse the US has used for quite some time.

  10. cometman permalink*
    November 9, 2009 9:57 am

    Well The House has produced some ground rat sausage that they are actually trying to pass of as health care “reform” and John Nichols has a good rundown of what transpired at The Nation. Sacrilegious Saturday seems as good a place to post about this as any since some Democrats had to wait to weigh in until their bishops told them which way to vote:

    The tortured final negotiations put serious cracks in Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state, as abortion foes such as Pennsylvania Democrat Jason Altmire openly acknowledged that they would not vote for health-care reform legislation unless they were told it was appropriate to do so by Catholic bishops in their home districts.

    Of course this is because the Democratic “leadership” was busy throwing the base under the bus once again by bargaining away womens’ reproductive rights.

    Jan Schakowsky, who we last heard being accused of having a lesbian tryst with a Turkish spy, fought against the amendment limiting womens’ rights but when the amendment passed, she went ahead and voted for the legislation anyhow. One of the reasons we keep hearing about continuing the war in Afghanistan is that we must “help the women”, but how in the hell are we supposed to believe that the US government is going to help women in a foreign country when the elected women in this country can’t even fight for the rights of women here by simply voting no on a piece of legislation?

    The bill does require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions but it also requires people to buy private insurance, and nobody seems to be willing to admit the obvious fact that costs will rise when insurance companies start to cover these pre-existing conditions. They aren’t going to do it out of the inherent goodness of their hearts.

    Then of course the public option in this bill is so weak that it will likely become a dumping ground for people the insurance companies don’t want and since Congress also bargained away the ability to tie public option costs to Medicare rates, it could very well wind up being even more expensive than private plans. And don’t think you can just get your state to go after single payer health care on its own, because congress also bargained away the right to do that.

    Here’s Dennis Kucinich explaining why he voted NO on this piece of crap for all the right reasons.

    By the time the Senate passes their version of health care and the House and Senate bills go back to be reconciled, this rat sausage will be so putrid it will be unpalatable for anyone. but it won’t stop the Dems from claiming an historic victory, as they’ve already laughably started to do :

    Epic depictions of the House vote were commonplace Saturday, as Democrats compared their measure with historic legislation of the past.

    “This is an historic moment for our nation. House passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, marks the first step toward ensuring health care for all Americans,” said Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who helped craft the legislation as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I truly believe that we’ll look back years from now and view the passage of this Act to be as significant as the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 and the Medicare and Medicaid Act in 1965.”

    I guess I’m not the only one who has already considered the extremely unpleasant scenario that the only way to stick a fork in this piece of garbage and start from scratch with real reform with a single payer system favored by the majority of voters may be to root for Droopy Dog to vote down the bill in the Senate for all the wrong reasons.


    • Stemella permalink*
      November 9, 2009 10:32 am

      Nice assessment of an atrocious bill. Kucinich was one of only two of the Progressive caucus to stand on principle and vote against the piece of shit. That Stupak-Pitts amendment is beyond belief. Lest we forget, Stupak was one of the C-Street darlings. Emptywheel reminds us about that here:
      Bart Stupak’s C-Street Sepsis

      What this fiasco has proven to me, without a doubt, is that the so called Overton window the pwoggy bloggists bloviate about has been pushed much much farther to the right since Obama sat on the throne. There is no chance in hell that the Party of Corporatists that call themselves Democrats will provide any representation for the likes of me or most of my fellow countrypeople. I’ve known this of the Obama administration since the likes of Rahmbo and Summers were inducted, but now I see there is also no way Congress will do anything but side with the Corporations, no matter the issue or policy.

      It remains to be seen if any kind of viable political representation will evolve separately for those of us left out in this country. The wingnuts seem to be well on their way in forming a “Conservtive” aka fascist party.

      I cannot adequately express how disgusted and infuriated I feel about this health care tragedy. It is the very worst kind of kabuki.

      • cometman permalink*
        November 9, 2009 11:04 am

        At this point I’m not sure why Kucinich stays in the Democratic party. He was also one of the very few not to cave in to the Israeli lobby and voted against condemning the Goldstone report. For standing up on principle he was disinvited as keynore speaker for a Palm Beach Democratic fundraising dinner.

        Not sure why Howard Dean continues to carry water for the Dems either. he has to keep compromising his principles and the Dem leadership still doesn’t like him much anyway.

        The two of them have enough national recognition at this point that they could start a third party that would put the fear of (insert deity of your choice) into all the weak-kneed Dems. They might not win at first but they’d sure pull a lot of votes away. At this point, even if you buy the argument that 3rd parties help elect republicans, how would that make matters any worse when the Democrats continue to cave in to every wingnut demand while ignoring their own party’s base time and time again? All we’re getting is pretty much exactly what the republicans want anyway.

      • cometman permalink*
        November 9, 2009 11:28 am

        Here’s the piece of info I was looking for about insurance pricing. All we had was some vague promises from the insurance industry after some secret meetings with the Obama administration that they would raise rates slightly slower than they might have otherwise, and this was touted as a potential “savings” for those too stupid to pay attention. In this post – Is the House Health Care Bill Better than Nothing? – a former editor of the NE Journal of medicine notes that the bill does nothing to regulate what the insurers can charge:

        …since it doesn’t regulate premiums, the industry can respond to any regulation that threatens its profits by simply raising its rates.

        So now, instead of going bankrupt when you have a problem your insurance company won’t cover, you can go beankrupt even sooner just by trying to keep up with the now mandated premiums.

        And by the way, the answer to the question posed by the article’s title is a resounding “NO”.

        Is the House bill better than nothing? I don’t think so. It simply throws more money into a dysfunctional and unsustainable system, with only a few improvements at the edges, and it augments the central role of the investor-owned insurance industry. The danger is that as costs continue to rise and coverage becomes less comprehensive, people will conclude that we’ve tried health reform and it didn’t work. But the real problem will be that we didn’t really try it. I would rather see us do nothing now, and have a better chance of trying again later and then doing it right.

        • Stemella permalink*
          November 9, 2009 2:32 pm

          Going beankrupt. Instead of filing for bankruptcy one should eat as many beans and cabbage as possible, walk into the bank and proceed to explode! ;)

          Beankrupts unite!

          I’m a bit slaphappy, because I have returned from spending 2 hrs in my credit union trying to get a credit card. I want to get rid of my Citigroup card that just upped interest to 20% even though I have zero balance and nearly perfect credit. I’ve kept it for the frequent flyer miles, but fuckem. Up until this crash my credit union constantly sent me pre-approved credit card applications that I shredded. Now they are making me justify every penny I earn and spend to get a measly amount of credit for personal use.

          I know it is a good sign that they are finally getting more picky, but jeebus, this was ridiculous. They said it’s because I’m a small business, that we get more scrutiny than the non self employed. Fuckers.

          • cometman permalink*
            November 10, 2009 7:46 am

            Haha! Yeah the beankrupts will be just like V for Vendetta except instead of wearing masks on their faces, they’ll be on the posterior instead :)

            If you only need a little credit, you could ask the credit union to give you an overdraft line of credit which is attached to your checking account. I think the maximum you can get at the credit union I use is a $2500 or so, but that may vary at different places. The interest rate is around 13-14%. Didn’t have to jump through too many hoops to get one, mostly just show that I had an income, but I think having direct deposit helped.

  11. cometman permalink*
    November 9, 2009 1:43 pm

    Interesting poll data from a BBC survey that asked people in 27 countries whether capitalism was working.

    Only 11 percent of people surveyed across 27 countries thought free market capitalism is working well, while nearly a quarter — 23 percent — said the system is “fatally flawed.” A bare majority, 51 percent, believed its problems can be solved with more regulation and reform, the poll said.

    The US is once again behind the rest of the world with the highest percentage of people who think capitalism is just fine the way it is, but even that figure was only 25%.

    • Stemella permalink*
      November 9, 2009 2:34 pm

      Marx and Engels are smiling from their little commie graves :-D

  12. cometman permalink*
    November 9, 2009 1:49 pm

    Haven’t read through this one yet but it looks interesting. Reggie Middleton via zerohedge on how bad the banking situation really is You’ve Been Bamboozled, Hoodwinked and Lied To! Here’s the Proof. What Are You Going to Do About It?

    • Stemella permalink*
      November 9, 2009 2:49 pm

      A lot of good info there, and as I found when looking at Reggie’s site a while back, difficult to decipher. I can see from the comments that the zedhedgers agree.

      “With all due respect, the format of your article does not easily translate into information that can be forwarded, read and understood. ” haha

      It gives me sockrat flashbacks for that very reason. chemtrailzzzzzzzzz

      • cometman permalink*
        November 10, 2009 7:57 am

        Just read through it and you’re right, there is a bit of sockratitude to it – definitely a big info dump that is too difficult to wade through.

  13. cometman permalink*
    November 9, 2009 2:03 pm

    Wow, Chris Floyd and Arthur Silber are pretty damn pissed off at whatever the hell it was that passed the House on Saturday. Here’s Floyd:

    Couldn’t they have just had a cookout — or a key party — instead? We would’ve all been better off.

    Of course, the House bill, bad as it is, will be mangled beyond all recognition in that elitist abattoir known as the Senate, where no doubt even the few milder-than-milquetoast ameliorations that survived the corporate bludgeoning in the House will be cast aside.

    Here’s one of the Silber posts Floyd quotes from – The Fuck You Act.

    In the NY Times story about the House passage of this detestable bill, we read this utterance from the awful Steny Hoyer:

    “We did what we promised the American people we would do,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader…

    On this occasion, Hoyer is entirely correct.

    If you listened carefully to what almost every politician said during the last election campaign — and I emphatically include what Obama and all leading Democrats said — and if you understood what they were saying, you realized that they told you over and over again that they would fuck you in an endless variety of ways, until almost every last drop of your blood and almost every dollar you possess were gone. In their infinite kindness, they won’t kill you, for they hope to extract still more from you, as your life and hope slowly ebb away.

    They’ve kept their promise. They’ve fucked you yet again, just as they said they would.

    And they are very far from done.

    • Stemella permalink*
      November 9, 2009 2:52 pm

      Oooh good word, abattoir, “a facility where animals are killed and processed into meat foods” otherwise known as a slaughterhouse!

      Thanks for the links.

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